In 2017, Zika surfaced in India after three cases were reported in Ahmedabad. This year, a major Zika outbreak was reported in Rajasthan where, so far, 135 cases have been detected.
Last week, yet another case of Zika was detected in Ahmedabad, after which the Gujarat government’s health department has been leaving no stone unturned to curb the spread of the virus. The government is even monitoring those who frequently travel to Rajasthan to curb further outbreaks in the state.
Zika is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. Its symptoms include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and/or headache. The virus could even affect the health of an unborn child if a pregnant woman contracts it.
Patient Returned From Rajasthan
On 22 October, a woman admitted to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease. Mission Director of National Health Mission (Gujarat) Dr Gaurav Dahiya (IAS) said the case was detected in the city’s Amraivadi area.
"“She had returned from Jaipur. The locality where she resided has been placed under medical surveillance. This is a vector-borne disease and causes febrile illness, just like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.”" - Dr Gaurav Dahiya (IAS), Mission Director of National Health Mission (Gujarat)
Acute Febrile Illness causes a rapid onset of fever and symptoms such as headache, chills or muscle and joint pains. According to Gujarat Health Commissioner, since there are no specific medicines for Zika, patients could take paracetamol.
A special ward with 12 beds has been set up at the VS Hospital here to treat Zika virus-affected patients after the first case was detected.
Also Read: 135 Zika virus patients in Jaipur
Only One Case Detected So Far
While the infected woman, admitted on 22 October, has since recovered and been discharged, the local administration has swung into action to stop the spread of the Zika virus. The AMC had already launched a massive drive to stop the possible spread of the virus
"“We have set up a special ward with 12 beds to treat the patients hit by the Zika virus infection. Patients from any part of the state will be treated here. However, no patient has been admitted at present (in the ward),”" - Bhavin Solanki, Medical Officer, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)
Gujarat Commissioner of Health Jayanti Ravi claims that there is no need to panic as the situation is under control due to the proactive steps taken by the administration.
"“The Zika virus spreads through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes, which carry the dengue and chikungunya virus, also carry the Zika virus. So, the best way to stop its spread is to control the mosquitoes,” " - Jayanti Ravi, Gujarat Commissioner of Health
Monitoring of Human Traffic from Rajasthan
According to Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra, an intensive screening exercise has been taken up with the help of 390 teams.
"“We have formed 390 teams and screened over 7.33 lakh people since October 22. Fogging and destruction of larva have been carried out to control the mosquito menace in the city.” " - Vijay Nehra, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner
When asked whether the health department’s focus is only on Ahmedabad, Dr Dahiya said teams are out screening in all districts, especially in those areas where high number of vector borne diseases have been registered.
"“Since many Zika cases were detected in Rajasthan, we are monitoring movement of people travelling between the two states. Even the first case that was detected here, the patient had travelled to Rajasthan. All preventive measures have been deployed and the government is on high alert." - Dr Gaurav Dahiya (IAS), Mission Director of National Health Mission (Gujarat)
(With Inputs from PTI)
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